Monday, May 18, 2020

Coffee and Composers

By Andy Fein, luthier at Fein Violins, and chief coffee taster at Stradivarius Coffee
and Ivana Truong


Wagner’s table at Caffe Lavena

Today, getting a cup of coffee from your local cafe can be a great way to get your daily dose of
caffeine while getting some work done or chatting with some of your neighbors. (At least, it has
been in the recent past and we hope will be again shortly!)



But in the past, cafes, or coffee houses served more as a meeting place for intellectual and political debate. Beginning in the 16th century Ottoman Empire and spreading to Europe through Venetian merchants by the early 17th century, coffee houses provided an accessible place for patrons to openly exchange their ideas. Coffee houses were actually key meeting places for the founders of the American and French Revolutions! [1]


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Pernambuco Wood or Carbon Bows- Which Are Better?


By Andy Fein, Luthier at Fein Violins,
and Ivana Truong


Your bow is half of your sound.

A seemingly surprising statement, but very true.

Most professional and advanced string players have more than one bow. That's why a lot of bow cases have four bow holders! Different bows give different sounds to the same instrument and work better or worse with different styles of music. And then there's the venue. It's a good idea to have a Carbon bow for outdoor and bar gigs!

So which is better- Pernambuco or Carbon?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Women at the Workbench

By Andy Fein, Luthier at Fein Violins,
Mikaela Marget, and Ivana Truong

Do female violinmakers even exist?? 
del Gesu scroll



One difficult aspect of researching female violin makers pre-20th century is that there were strict laws across Europe that forbade women from owning individual property or having control of their own income. In addition, pre-20th century stigmas about what instruments were considered "proper" for women to study may have made women uncomfortable about publicly working on or playing violins, violas, or cellos. In many places, it wasn't even acceptable for women to carry a stringed instrument in public! 

Monday, March 9, 2020

Round or Octagonal Bows- Which Are Better? The Definitive Answer

By Andy Fein, Luthier at Fein Violins and
Ivana Truong

A round bow or an octagonal bow- Which is better???? 

The absolute, definitive, very, very correct answer is...



Sunday, February 16, 2020

Stradivaris, Amatis, Guarneris, and more at the Smithsonian

By Andy Fein, Luthier at Fein Violins
Ivana Truong

This is Presidents weekend and maybe a few people have Washington, D.C. on their minds. Do you know the American people own a tremendous number of historic instruments? The collections of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian are treasures of the United States and belong to each and every American.
The inlay on the Side of the Scroll of the Greffuhle Stradivarius violin